The Wonders of Methylene Blue
Methylene Blue (MB) was first prepared in 1876 and is a colourful organic chloride salt compound. Originally used as a blue textile dye, it was realised that it had the potential for use in under-microscope testing as a way to stain and thereby study human tissues and microbes for examination. It was discovered that MB had a profound effect on certain cells and microbes and this lead to intense study on this remarkable compound.
1. MB was the first synthetic compound to be used as an antiseptic in clinical therapy and has been a lead compound in drug research (for bacterial & viral infections, even cancer)(1-3).
2. MB was one of the first chemotherapeutic medications ever tested in humans.
3. It was also used to treat malaria in 1891. Of course, it was replaced by antibiotics when they first came on the scene even though MB is deemed by some to be superior. With heavy marketing by big pharma to doctors, a shift was made to these new “superior” antimicrobials, but are they really superior?
We have now found that antibiotics can have negative effects to our health through killing our 'good' microbiome, and that many “bugs” can become resistant to antibiotics. The treatment of malaria with antibiotics has proven that this may not be the best course of action, as many of the antibiotics have created resistant strains, thus making them useless.
There has been zero detection that the micro-organisms have resistance to MB, unlike antibiotics. The microbiome is an incredibly important diverse group of bacteria that coexist in the body, mostly in the gut. The malarial parasites, Plasmodium falciparum, are now showing an increased resistance to common antimalarial drugs. As a result, methylene blue is being considered a better option.
4. You will find MB in hospitals worldwide as an antidote for metabolic poisons that interfere with oxygen transport (carbon monoxide or cyanide poisoning), it is listed as a WHO essential antidote - (https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/WHO-MHP-HPS-EML-2021.02)
5. Although it has been used for its beneficial treatment of cognitive disorders for close on a century, the research is now showing exactly how it works on our nervous system and the brain(4).
What It Does Inside Our Body – in monitored LOW doses:
- Increases brain cell (mitochondrial) respiration (how the brain’s cells use oxygen)
MB enhances oxidative metabolism by supporting the pumping of protons into the mitochondrial intermembrane, this leads to synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP)(5;6).
ATP is basically a shuttle-service, delivering energy to places within the cell where energy-consuming activities are taking place. The more your body produces ATP, the more you can mentally & physically work.
If the production of ATP declines, physical and mental performance decline too. Even healthy people can benefit from an ATP production boost.
- Decreases ROS (reactive oxygen species) production - ANTIOXIDANT(6;7)
ROS are highly reactive chemicals / molecules that signal cell growth and apoptosis (death), differentiation, inflammation and our immune response. If there is an imbalance between the production of ROS and our antioxidant defences (oxidative stress), this leads to DNA damage, disease and accelerated ageing. ROS contributes to the natural ageing process. In vitro tests have shown that low doses of MB can decrease ROS.
Not only that, the first free-radical formed inside a cell is superoxide, and MB was seen to bind to this and reduce it to water, thereby stopping the oxidative stress.
- Inhibits MOA activity (an enzyme)(8)
Laboratory tests done on human cells showed that MB partially and sometimes totally inhibited the enzyme Monoamine oxidase (MOA), which is found on the outer membrane of mitochondria. This enzyme is known to sometimes decrease or degrade levels the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.
- Boosts Acetylcholine (an organic chemical that functions as a neurotransmitter)
The result of inhibiting MOA and acetylcholinesterase is that acetylcholine levels naturally increase. Acetylcholine’s function in the brain is critical for encoding new memories, reasoning, concentration, cognition, and growth of new synapses.
The Effects This Has On Our Body:
- Increased energy levels
Mitochondria are the cells that “breath” and generate the energy for our bodies.
MB helps the mitochondria produce more energy, by doing this our bodies not only get a boost, but they are also able to protect and keep themselves healthy(9).
- Memory boost
It has been established through many laboratory studies that because MB increases brain oxygen consumption, it facilities memory retention(10;11).
- Protection against neurodegenerative diseases (like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia)
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are associated with a build-up of various proteins (taurine and carnosine), or “plaque”. Clinical trials show that MB inhibits the formation of this plaque (12;13;14). MB is under consideration as a treatment for Alzheimer’s because of the positive study results.
- Slows down ageing effects on the body
As oxidative stress is the major cause of body ageing (including the skin), it serves to reason that antioxidants aid in delaying the ageing process. One study found that MB, traditionally used as a mitochondrial antioxidant, had the best results in helping skin fibroblast proliferation than any other nerve antioxidant tested(15).
There are many recent studies on the application of MB in treating age-related conditions, like neurodegeneration and memory loss(16), there is even one showing MB extending the lifespan of worms by up to 20%(17).
- Improves mood
Dopamine and serotonin are essential for cognitive function since they play primary roles in memory, focus, learning, mood, and many other aspects of brain health. By increasing levels of these neurotransmitters, MB can provide significant benefits to cognitive performance and overall well-being.
Studies show that the correct dose of MB either on its own or as an adjunctive medication, can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety(18;19;20).
A study conducted in rats with traumatic brain injury (TBI) over a 2-week period, showed that MB-treated rats exhibited significantly smaller brain lesions, higher scores on physical movement tests and less neural degeneration, compared to the placebo group(7).
There are encouraging results in preclinical trials of some of the most disabling neurogenerative conditions (but not all) and even cancer, the protective and healing properties of MB prove it to be very versatile in what it can treat(21;22).
With all this incredible dosage-based research, it was a “know brainer” that Methylene Blue be added to My Beauty Luv’s Brainy Beauty® nootropic supplement.
Brainy Beauty® - a first in SA and a global first formulation!
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- Bodoni P. Dell’azione sedativa del bleu di metilene in varie forme di psicosi. Clin Med Ital 1989;24:217–22.
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- Duicu, O. M., Privistirescu, A., Wolf, A., Petruş, A., Dănilă, M. D., Raţiu, C. D., … Sturza, A. (2017). Methylene blue improves mitochondrial respiration and decreases oxidative stress in a substrate-dependent manner in diabetic rat hearts. Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 95(11), 1376–1382. doi:10.1139/cjpp-2017-0074
- Talley Watts, L., Long, J. A., Chemello, J., Van Koughnet, S., Fernandez, A., Huang, S., … Duong, T. Q. (2014). Methylene Blue Is Neuroprotective against Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Journal of Neurotrauma, 31(11), 1063–1071.doi:10.1089/neu.2013.3193
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- Gureev, A. P., Syromyatnikov, M. Y., Gorbacheva, T. M., Starkov, A. A., & Popov, V. N. (2016). Methylene blue improves sensorimotor phenotype and decreases anxiety in parallel with activating brain mitochondria biogenesis in mid-age mice. Neuroscience Research, 113, 19–27.doi:10.1016/j.neures.2016.07.006
- Riha, P. D., Bruchey, A. K., Echevarria, D. J., & Gonzalez-Lima, F. (2005). Memory facilitation by methylene blue: Dose-dependent effect on behavior and brain oxygen consumption. European Journal of Pharmacology, 511(2-3), 151–158.doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2005.02.001
- Callaway, N. L., Riha, P. D., Bruchey, A. K., Munshi, Z., & Gonzalez-Lima, F. (2004). Methylene blue improves brain oxidative metabolism and memory retention in rats. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 77(1), 175–181.doi:10.1016/j.pbb.2003.10.007
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- Atamna, H., & Kumar, R. (2010). Protective Role of Methylene Blue in Alzheimer’s Disease via Mitochondria and Cytochrome c Oxidase. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 20(s2), S439–S452.doi:10.3233/jad-2010-100414
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- Xiong, Z.-M., O’Donovan, M., Sun, L., Choi, J. Y., Ren, M., & Cao, K. (2017). Anti-Aging Potentials of Methylene Blue for Human Skin Longevity. Scientific Reports, 7(1).doi:10.1038/s41598-017-02419-3
- Xiong, Z.-M., Choi, J. Y., Wang, K., Zhang, H., Tariq, Z., Wu, D., … Cao, K. (2015). Methylene blue alleviates nuclear and mitochondrial abnormalities in progeria. Aging Cell, 15(2), 279–290.doi:10.1111/acel.12434
- Vaccaro, A., Patten, S. A., Ciura, S., Maios, C., Therrien, M., Drapeau, P., … Parker, J. A. (2012). Methylene Blue Protects against TDP-43 and FUS Neuronal Toxicity in C. elegans and D. rerio. PLoS ONE, 7(7), e42117.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0042117
- Alda, M., McKinnon, M., Blagdon, R., Garnham, J., MacLellan, S., O’Donovan, C., … MacQueen, G. (2017). Methylene blue treatment for residual symptoms of bipolar disorder: Randomised crossover study. British Journal of Psychiatry, 210(01), 54–60. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.115.173930
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